Monday, December 31, 2012

“I will make you young again.”

It was December 30, 2011, and Peter Mattis was home for the holidays and leading an informal worship service in the fellowship hall. Two weeks prior I kept sensing that I was to write about my spiritual journey. It was four pages of brutal honesty beginning with a dramatic Damascus Road experience to subsequently falling away and having an anger towards God and life that festered for decades. As I look back at the urging to write a paper that I have shared with very few people it is as if God wanted me to understand where I had been before he took me to the next phase.

It was early in the night when as I worshiped freely that I heard with unmistakable clarity, “I will make you young again.” It was so apparent that I looked around at the people nearby perhaps to see if they had heard the same voice. It was that clear. My thoughts drifted to a few months back when I had asked God a simple question. Is it too late for me to dream?

Three days later I was in Atlanta surrounded by 45,000 people, most of whom were college students. The event was Passion 2012 and I had never heard of it until it was mentioned in church the previous day. My friend Jim in his easy going manner suggested I attend the meeting with him after church and listen with no pressure. There were openings to go but I had to decide soon as we would leave very early the next morning. Jim made it easier by saying that I could ride with him. I don’t like crowds and am such a homebody that my life would be deemed boring by most, but in my spirit I knew I was supposed to get out of my comfort zone and attend. 

God used Passion to break lose the last chains that bound me and to show me what I lacked. It was the last evening service that looking  back set me free. I looked around as thousands worshipped. Their faces so peaceful, so joyful, so in love with God. I knew they had something I did not. I left early and walked back to the hotel, confused, lost, and in a city of millions I was alone.

The next morning was the final session. The music was flowing & I said, "God, I don't even know what I am still clinging too. My hopes, dreams, failures. Whatever it is, break it off. In the next moment I was crying, broken, and I no longer was out of place. 

As time passed, I assumed that Passion was the fulfillment of that whisper and I was grateful. But in the summer as I had coffee with Jim, he said, “I think about you hearing God say that he would make you young again. You are much younger.” He paused searching for the right words and then he nodded, “You are so much lighter.”

As this year draws to a close I have had more ongoing confirmations that the whisper, though not yet fulfilled, keeps growing. I get puzzled looks as people search for their words to describe the difference they see. Last week a long time friend said, “I have never seen you this happy and calm.”

This year has proven to be a year of unprecedented spiritual growth. What magical thing did I do? Did I pray more, fast more, strive harder, and follow more laws. No. I simply asked God to to set up shop in my heart. More of  him and less of me. It really is that simple.

Six little words that keep growing and I am excited for I am young again.